Growing Artichokes

Growing Heirloom Artichokes

Heirloom artichokes are produced from rootstock and grown perennially, meaning they are farmed and produced in the same field for many years. As with most perennial crops, our Heirloom artichokes require an annual pruning or “cut back” cycle where the plant is cut down to bare ground. A few weeks following cut back, multiple vegetative shoots will emerge from the rootstock and initiate the artichoke production cycle. Artichoke buds will begin to produce in the base of each shoot; the shoots will transition into stalks which can support eight to ten artichokes each.

Initially smaller the size of a pea, the artichoke buds will continue to grow larger until reaching the proper size for harvest. The time frame from primary bud formation to harvest can take several months. Heirloom artichokes consistently produce new shoots throughout their growing cycle. This characteristic enables us to harvest our Heirloom variety on a regular basis and provide a wide assortment of artichoke sizes each time we harvest the field.

  • Heirloom artichoke plants have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years; some of our plants have been growing for over 20 years.
  • A typical Heirloom artichoke plant can yield approximately thirty artichokes per year.

  • Plant with Rootstock

  • Full Rootstock

  • Rootstock Division

  • Chopping

  • Cutting

  • Shoot Regrowth

Growing Globe Artichokes

As opposed to their Heirloom cousins, our annual artichokes are grown from seed. We plant artichoke seed into preformed trays and grow them for a short while in greenhouses. When the plants are about five inches tall, we bring them from the greenhouses and transplant them into the field using a specialized machine.

Annual artichokes are grown in the field for a single season. Unlike Heirloom artichokes which produce multiple shoots, annual artichokes yield one single shoot. The lone artichoke shoot will produce one artichoke stalk. The stalk of an annual artichoke will yield about 10 to 12 artichokes ranging in size from small to large.

Annual artichoke plants have a lifespan of about six months. At the end of their production cycle, the remaining artichoke plant material will be worked into the soil. Since annual artichokes only occupy the soil for a short period of time as opposed to Heirloom artichokes, we have the option to rotate other crops between annual artichoke plantings. Crop rotation greatly improves soil health.

  • Seeds

  • Greenhouse

  • Transplant Plug

  • Transplant Process

  • Globe Artichoke Plant

  • Crop Rotation

Harvesting

Artichokes are harvested by hand. Crews walk through producing fields carefully selecting the artichokes that are ready to harvest.  It takes several days for the eye to be trained as to when the artichoke should be cut. The artichokes are cut with a small knife from the plant below the base of the artichoke leaving an edible portion of stem.  The artichokes are then placed in a “canasta” (basket) worn on the back. The canastas can weigh up to 100 pounds in the spring when the artichokes are at their heaviest, usually after a spring rain.

After the canasta is full, the artichokes are taken to a field-pack machine where they are unloaded and then packed by size into a standard carton. The harvesters then continue walking the field until they are finished. Most harvest days are from 8 to 10 hours in the field – five to six days a week.

Most fields are harvested between 10 and 25 times a season.

Watch the video below of a crew harvesting artichokes.

Where Artichokes are Growing Today

Where Artichokes are Growing Today

We grow our great-tasting, nutritious, fresh Ocean Mist Artichokes year-round, thanks to our perfectly suited California growing regions.

Ocean Mist Artichokes Growing Regions

Castroville, CA: January – December

Coachella, CA: December – March

Oxnard, CA: October – January

Baja California Mexico: December-February

Where Artichokes are Growing Today

We grow our great-tasting, nutritious, fresh Ocean Mist Artichokes year-round, thanks to our perfectly suited California growing regions.

Ocean Mist Artichokes Growing Regions

Castroville, CA: January – December

Coachella, CA: December – March

Oxnard, CA: October – January

Baja California Mexico: December-February